I would never claim to be a cleaning pro…even though my nana came about as close as anyone I’ve ever known. But folks who clean for a living know some secrets that we mere mortals don’t. Here are some spring cleaning tips from the pros that we can put to use in our own homes.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
The One-Year Rule
You’ve heard variations on this rule I know. It simply states that if you haven’t used an item in the past year then it’s time for it to go. After all, you haven’t needed in the last 12 months, so how likely is it that you’re going to suddenly develop a desire to grab and use it?
Now there are some definite exceptions to this rule. There are seasonal items that we need occasionally. And just because your area didn’t have a major blizzard last winter doesn’t mean that you won’t have one this coming winter…and need that show shovel that is stored in the garage.
Or perhaps you usually go water skiing at the lake on your family vacation every year, but last summer something came up and your plans changed. You don’t want to get rid of the water skis simply because of an occasional variation from your routine.
But for most purposes, the one-year rule is a pretty good one. If you haven’t worn a particular pair of pants in a year there’s a good chance that it’s time for that item to go in the donate box. Because items that don’t get used tend to lose their appeal over time. This is especially true with clothing
So instead of letting those unused items take up valuable space (and be things that you have to clean…or clean around) let them go be a blessing to someone else who can – and will – use them.
Need Help Getting Clutter Under Control?
Sign up for the 5-Day Clutter Challenge to have lessons delivered straight to your inbox. Your home can look better by the end of the week!
Related Post: 40 Tips To Tidy The House In Under 10 Minutes
Clean Top to Bottom
My nana taught me this rule when I was a little girl.
And it makes sense when you stop to think about it.
After all, it’s a waste of time to sweep the floor before you clean the dust off of light fixtures and ceiling fan blades. That dust simply falls to the floor – and on to your freshly swept floor – causing you to have to redo your sweeping job. I don’t know about you, but I don’t love cleaning enough to want to do it again for no good reason.
So start at the top and work your way down. Start with light fixtures, ceiling fans, crown molding, etc. and work your way down the walls and to the floor.
This way when you get around to sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, you’ll truly be done and ready to move on to the next room.
Related Post: 8 Benefits Of Spring Cleaning
Have Trash Bags Or Boxes For Things To Keep, Donate, Or Trash
Half the battle when we’re cleaning is having a place to designate between the things we want to keep, donate, or take to the trash.
If you clean something and you love it – it goes into the “keep box” until you’re ready to return it to the shelf, cabinet, or drawer.
But when you come across items that you aren’t using, put those items into a sack or box to take to the donation center. The trick is to go ahead and get those items out of the house as soon as possible. And if at all possible…don’t let other family members go through the sack or boxes! Many an item has been “rescued” and put back into circulation never to be used again because someone else decided that they just couldn’t let it go (even though they never use it).
And trash…well, get trash out to your trash bin, dumpster, or recycle bin as fast as you can.
I’ve said it more than once on this blog but I’ll say it again…Mom isn’t the only one who lives in the house so she isn’t the only one who is responsible for cleaning it up.
The best route is to get other family members to pitch in and help. After all, they contribute to the mess – it makes sense they should help clean it up. It also teaches everyone in the family that it does indeed take a village (or in this case, a family) to clean a house.
However, if you’re not getting the cooperation you need from your family, there’s nothing wrong with enlisting professional help. After all, that’s what they’re there for and since they are professionals, they’ll get the job done much more quickly than if you’re trying to do it all by yourself.
Work in Sections
One tip that works great – and keeps you from making even more of a mess – is to work in sections.
Here’s the problem with a lot of plans – they call for you to pull everything out…and you end up with an even bigger mess than when you started.
And while that might be fine IF you’re sure you’re going to have time to finish in one session, many of us are short on time and need to work on projects in smaller bites (I know I do).
Working in smaller sections keeps you from having everything in a room in a total mess. Instead you work on just one area until its finished. Then you move on to the next area. And if you don’t get to the next area in the same work session, it’s fine because you’re not exhausted but still staring at a humongous mess.
Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for disaster in my opinion because you’ll get overwhelmed, frustrated, and end up deciding that it’s more work, effort, and mess than you want to deal with.
But when we work on just one area or section at a time, we can work in smaller time sessions as our energy and schedules allow. And as long as we keep pecking at it…we’ll get everything finished.
Maximize Your Space By Minimizing Your Stuff
I’m not a girl who is ever going to toss out all my stuff…I have stuff that I love. But I do believe that we need to take a critical look at our stuff.
Do we love it? Is it something we use? Is it sentimental…and are we honoring it by displaying or using it?
As we’re going through areas of our homes and cleaning, these are questions we should be asking ourselves. It’s okay to have stuff…but it’s important to keep it in perspective with the vision you have for you home and your life. Anything we can get rid of helps us in several ways:
- We have less stuff to clean, store, and organize,
- We gain space for the things that we really love (which may be experiences instead of things),
- We can actually find the things we need and use,
- And we have less things for other people to deal with if we’re ever not able to. Trust me, at some point in the future someone is going to be happy there’s less physical stuff to deal with.
So give yourself permission to get rid of the extra, and unnecessary, items.
Spring cleaning isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be horrendous either. Following these simple cleaning tips from the pros will make it less of a chore. And before you know it you’ll be done and ready to enjoy the benefits of your hard work.
For more tips, tricks, and techniques to make cleaning – and other things at home – easier, click below to join the email list.